Binary fission has been well studied in rod-shaped bacteria, but the mechanisms underlying cell division in spherical bacteria are poorly understood. Rod-shaped bacteria harbor regulatory proteins that place and remodel the division machinery during cytokinesis. In the spherical human pathogen Staphylococcus aureus, we found that the essential protein GpsB localizes to mid-cell during cell division and co-constricts with the division machinery. Depletion of GpsB arrested cell division and led to cell lysis, whereas overproduction of GpsB inhibited cell division and led to the formation of enlarged cells. We report that S. aureus GpsB, unlike other Firmicutes GpsB orthologs, directly interacts with the core divisome component FtsZ. GpsB bundles and organizes FtsZ filaments and also stimulates the GTPase activity of FtsZ. We propose that GpsB orchestrates the initial stabilization of the Z-ring at the onset of cell division and participates in the subsequent remodeling of the divisome during cytokinesis.
Keywords: B. subtilis; DivIVA; EzrA; Min system; MinCDE; PBP1; infectious disease; microbiology; peptidoglycan.